Photography, at its best I believe, is a powerful medium. It allows us to tell our story and show others how we see the world around us. Importantly, photography can also be about the relationships we forge with the people we meet. Someone who shares that same worldview is Nashville-based photographer Cedrick Jones. He is a true believer in that if you treat everyone you work with the utmost care and respect, not only will you get the best out of people you work with, but it is also ultimately the key to having a successful career.
I came across Cedrick’s work as a photographer recently when I discovered musician Ivory Layne. I believe nearly all of her most recent PR photography was shot by Cedrick. Not only does he capture what a beautiful young woman she is, but he also captures something that often alludes many photographers and that is capturing someone’s spirit and inner beauty. In my observations of Cedrick’s work, its not hard to see that this is something he does well and is achieved by making his subjects feel comfort and at ease. All in all it makes for a fun shoot and opens the door to a lot of mutual respect. Here in my interview with Cedrick, he answers some of the questions I’ve always thought about asking a professional photographer. Check it out!
Was photography a career path you always envisaged? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to it actually becoming a career?
For me photography was definitely not something I envisioned at a younger age. Even though I played around with cheap throw away cameras I never consider photography being something to get into. I wanted to play basketball and see what I could do! After I figured out that wasnʼt going to work out, I thought it would be cool to go to school to be an music engineer like my brother! Once I realized the actual work behind it, I knew that it wasnʼt something I was passionate about either.
The idea to purchase a professional camera came from my brother. He was the one who help me figure out what my passion is. He knew my love for taking photos so he convinced me to buy my first camera which is a canon rebel t4i. Itʼs the only camera Iʼm still currently shoot on.
Which photographers influenced you and how did it shape your view of photography?
Jeremy Cowart was the first photographer I found who inspired me! Iʼve learned so much from watching how he works. Robby Klein is another photographer whoʼs work Iʼve admired. Heʼs been a great with sharing some knowledge on the business side of things. Seth Farmer is another photographer I absolutely canʼt leave out. Heʼs been a HUGE help. From letting me use different equipment, business decisions. Heʼs my guy for life.
Can you tell me a little bit about the the of photography you specialise in?
I would say Iʼm trying to break into the entertainment world of photography! Music artists, actors, brands, celebrities.
What do you think makes a memorable photograph?
I think shooting personal work can make a photograph more memorable. Photographing something that excites only you and no one else.
Can you share one of your favourite photos and tell us the story behind it?
Chelsea McGough is a cellist based in Nashville, TN and she need photos for her website. She was so nervious before her shoot, because she never did a photoshoot before. My job is to make clients who are nervous getting their photo taken feel comfortable as possible. Once we started shooting and I showed her how amazing she looked, she immediately became comfortable. That shoot with her became one of my favorites. To see her overcome the fear of being in front of a camera was so fun to experience.
How hard is it being a photographer in what appears to be a crowded industry? What advice would you have for an aspiring photographer?
For me itʼs not hard. Itʼs fun! Even though thereʼs a lot of us, there is work out there for everyone. You just need the right people to see your work Advice? Be a good person. Try to find ways to be better at every aspect of photography. Learn from other people in different business fields and pick out certain things you could add to what you do to become a better business person and photographer.
What unique perspective do you Cedrick feel you bring to photography?
I honestly donʼt know. I feel like thatʼs something that could be told by someone Iʼve worked with. I just know that being honest, and working with the equipment I own and using it the best way that I know how is what has created amazing opportunities for me so far.
Not being recognised or appropriately credited for your work is every photographer’s nightmare. Is unauthorised use of your images across the net a problem? If so, how frustrating is that?
Yeah I can understand how that can be frustrating. With social media being a main source these days in getting jobs being recognized is really important. So yeah itʼs a problem but honestly photography gets harder and harder the more youʼre recognized. It doesnʼt really get any easy. If anything thereʼs more responsibility. You canʼt dwell too long on not being recognized for the work that you do. Itʼs a waste of time. You just have to keep moving. Keep working.
Where are we most likely to find you around Nashville with a camera in your hands?
Probably in a coffee shop. Thatʼs usually where I hang out. I donʼt hang out much at all but whenever I do get out of the house, Iʼm most likely be at a coffee shop. Or working on a shoot.
Finally, Cedrick, can you tell us something surprising about yourself?
Iʼm still really good at basketball for my size. If you see me in person you wouldnʼt think so but I can give someone that work on a real basketball court.